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Thread: The voices in my head told me to make a Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice thread

  1. #26
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Definitely not a sequel hook, henke. Which part was confusing? My take is it's saying that Hela was really a manifestation of Senua's grief and inability to accept Dillion's death. The only way to defeat death is to accept it; Senua's long, arduous journey is about coming to terms with that in the end, and I think it's fair to say with her psychosis it's even harder to do than with someone neurotypical. The final scene simply meant that Senua's battle with herself doesn't end - the voices will always be there, because this is not a condition you can cure by simply willing it away. She'll always have to find the strength and a measure of peace within herself to quiet them. It's the one thing that made me nod my head and go, 'Yes, maybe they really do get it after all.'

  2. #27
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ah yeah, I watched a bit of the featurette last night and started coming to the same conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    Definitely not a sequel hook, henke.
    What about the part where she looks straight into the camera and says "Follow us, we have another story to tell"?

  3. #28
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Ah, didn't remember that bit, thought you meant the voices resurfacing. I suppose so, but it'd be in poor taste to have Senua in a sequel if they plan on it, at the very least.

  4. #29
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Just finished this too. I agree with what others have said - great atmosphere and visuals, mediocre gameplay that started to get tedious.

    I also found the ending very disappointing, both in terms of gameplay and in terms of story.

    (Major spoilers below)

    First of all, from a gameplay perspective:
    Before the final battle, you have to repeat a shadow copy of every fight in the game, which is fine enough as a precursor to the main finale sequence, but the next part just has you fighting a near-infinite set of standard enemies, while you are unable to actually die. That fight was very long and just got incredibly tedious before it finally ended. As the final moment in the game, it was a complete anticlimax.

    Then, the final cutscene afterwards:
    Senua has fought through a massive epic hero's journey, carefully constructed so that it could be either real, or a battle all inside her head, or a mixture of the two (that Helheim is real, but shapes itself around her own fears and psychosis). She overcomes every challenge and preservers through sheer strength of will, managing with difficulty to overcome her fears and to slowly remember the things in her life which made her the way she is. Just before the finale, she remembers what happens to her mother, and it's set up as though she's going to have a chance to confront the darkness inside her which was placed there by her father, that overcoming the hatred and fear that he put inside her would be the final battle and, while it wouldn't cure her of her problems, would at least help her not to see herself as cursed.

    Instead, she gets to the final confrontation with Hela and ... just gives up and lets herself die.
    It's even more anticlimatic than the gameplay side of things. And epic hero's journey where the hero just gives up at the final hurdle.

    Somehow, letting herself die represents letting the part of her that can't let go of Dillion die, but the whole thing is just vague, confusing, and feels like a waste of a perfectly good story.

  5. #30
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I think you might have been expecting something from the outset that the game wasn't ever pivoting towards. It's not an epic hero's journey, or at least it doesn't try to hew to that particular template (which they already followed and subverted a bit in Enslaved). The story starts with loss, which in itself means there's a somewhat different goal than growth or overcoming external adversity.

  6. #31
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    The developers themselves actually describe it as being based on "an epic hero's journey" in the documentary.

  7. #32
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Sounds like standard marketing, unfortunately. Given the focus on mental issues and the way the game opens, it ought to dispel any illusions of this being a standard heroic story.

  8. #33
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    No, I mean in the "spoiler" documentary that the game ships with, which I watched after playing it. The head of the project said that they started designing the game based on the concept of an epic hero's journey.

    Either way, I feel that an ending that doesn't really resolve your plot and just leaves your players/viewers/readers confused is never good, regardless of what type of story it is.
    (I know others will disagree with that, but I've never liked stories that end like that.)

  9. #34
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    I'm sure that's what they started with, but it's certainly not what the end product's focused on. I get where you're coming from, but I didn't find it confusing because it's quite clear that the entire story is completely internal.

    To wit, Hela isn't real, or even an enemy; it's the part of her that she refused to acknowledge, the part that accepts that Dillion died needlessly, and is not coming back. The entire trek through Hel is about fighting against reality until you realise the only way forward is acceptance. 'Dying' to Hela was an act of acceptance that was needed so she could finally grieve, let go, and move on. It's what gives context to the entire journey and redefines it while also telling you there's no simple way to lift her 'curse'. You don't just wish mental illness away. It's a constant, daily battle to subdue the voices in your head, and even the acknowledgment that they're not real won't magically make them stop. A simple resolution like the one you were expecting would actually run counter to the game's central themes and possibly cheapen it entirely.

    Again, it seems that expectations of the game leading to something else managed to sour you on it, which is unfortunate. If you're able to revisit it on its own terms, I'd say try taking a second look sometime in the future.
    Last edited by Sulphur; 14th Jul 2018 at 14:32.

  10. #35
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Don't worry NV, I was also too stupid to understand the ending. You're not alone.

  11. #36
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    As someone who generally thinks game endings -- especially game endings in epic games or long, complex games -- almost always have bad or disappointing endings, I thought Hellblade offered a rare excellent and satisfying ending. I thought it was beautiful and moving and almost perfectly fit the game's theme and atmosphere.

    The combat? Yeah, it gets a bit tedious and repetitive. One of the more disappointing aspects of the combat was that it featured unnecessary or unused variety.

    It's been about a year since I played it so I can't recall the details, but in my first playthrough I played it blind without looking up any hints or tips. After I finished it, I looked up combat tips and lists of the available combos. There were a bunch of interesting combos, with elaborate animations, that I never discovered or used and never needed to use. It was almost like Ninja Theory developed the components for a more diverse and interesting combat system, but didn't have the time or money to bring it to fruition.

  12. #37
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    In part I think it was a conscious choice not to make the combat more enjoyable, because you’re not supposed to feel like a badass. It’s the usual conundrum you’ve got if your game isn’t about a fun experience: is it worth making the gameplay less fun to make a thematic point, or should fun always trump everything else? I’m a sucker for ambitious storytelling so I’m okay with the game’s somewhat tedious combat, not least because it’s a relatively short (but intense) experience as it is.

  13. #38
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I agree, for the most part. I wouldn't want these unnecessary features to make my character feel more like a 'badass' or anything remotely like it. I just think a little more diversity in the combat could have helped usher more players through the story and its themes.

    And I'm more commenting on the strange irony or sadness that a game commonly criticized for having repetitive, tedious combat already had the makings for more diverse combat within it in the form of several unnecessary yet elaborately animated combinations in its moveset.

    But I agree: I wouldn't want the combat system to compromise or dilute what is supposed to be a harrowing experience, and I wouldn't want the combat to distract the player from the story and its themes.

  14. #39
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Hellblade is getting a free VR update!

    Here's some gameplay:



    Snap-turning is in, but there still seems to be a bit of involuntary camera turning during the fights, and of course locomotion is all smooth. Not sure how pleasant this is actually gonna be to play.

    Apparently the hardware requirements are pretty steep too:
    On a technical level, Hellblade at minimum requires an Intel i5 3570K or AMD FX-8350, 8 GB RAM, and either a NVIDIA GTX 1080 or AMD Radeon RX 580.
    RoadToVR has the scoop!

  15. #40
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I have to say that the third-person games I've played in VR haven't been a problem at all, mainly because you've got something/someone external to focus on.

  16. #41
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Lucky's Tale did make me a bit queasy. Edge of Nowhere was fine, but then again the camera constantly points in one direction in that one.

  17. #42
    Chakat sex pillow
    Registered: Sep 2006
    Location: not here
    Here is a different take on Hellblade by someone with depressive disorder. I've never read something I disagreed with more but had to acknowledge that maybe there's a fair point in there. I'm not particularly sold by invested in the politics of selling trauma and capitalism (the tenor of the writing is an unhappy preachiness), but I can acknowledge that yes, maybe it would have been good if Senua's story wasn't just about her illness. At the same time, it's a powerfully told tale that feels emotionally truthful, and the author doesn't acknowledge this, so I'm half-inclined to dismiss the writing as criticism for the sake of it.

    But then, it also reminds me of another piece from a non-neurotypical player that also criticised how the game seemed to be constructed for the mainstream instead of actual verisimilitude. So now I have no idea what to feel. Well. Maybe it's okay to feel conflicted for the moment.

  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    But then, it also reminds me of another piece from a non-neurotypical player that also criticised how the game seemed to be constructed for the mainstream instead of actual verisimilitude. So now I have no idea what to feel. Well. Maybe it's okay to feel conflicted for the moment.
    After having played some of Hellblade, my feel of the game is that it was made as a game first with the exploration of mental issues being a secondary concern. It could potentially have made more impactful statements on the subject, but the gameplay would likely have suffered, which in turn would have reduced some of the positive buzz it garnered (impacting sales of the game).

    To me Ninja Theory managed to strike a good balance between the two aspects.

  19. #44
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Started playing Senua's Sacrifice today, as I wanted a little break from Ori and the Blind Forest. Well, this is certainly something a bit different. I'm only a few hours in, but woah, it's been quite an experience so far. I didn't expect the game to be this heavy! I've enjoyed the journey though and I'm looking forward to how things turn out, it should be quite interesting.

    I also gotta say that this game looks absolutely fantastic. It doesn't go too over the top with the visual effects, but there's still a lot going on all the time. And if possible, the audio is even better... You really need headphones to get the most of it. The gameplay itself is a bit meh, like just about everyone has probably pointed out already, but I'm cool with that - Senua's Sacrifice is more about the story anyway. In fact I really like the fact that I don't need to perform any acrobatics here or find any collectibles or explore hidden places for once. The combat is simple but surprisingly fun, the boss fights especially are very intense!


    I'm a firestarter, twisted firestarter...

  20. #45
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by Sulphur View Post
    I suppose so, but it'd be in poor taste to have Senua in a sequel if they plan on it, at the very least.
    This is probably old news for some people already, but Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga is supposed to come out late this year. Senua didn't really need a sequel, but oh well. Here's a trailer that doesn't really tell anything about the game, apart from the fact that it still looks good and Senua is apparently very angry now.



    Anyway, I just finished Senua's Sacrifice. It's certainly quite a unique experience, and its art direction is really amazing. The different locations are interesting and really well designed. But the game is all about the story really, and it's kind of a mixed bag. I watched the "making of" featurette that provides some interesting background information about some design decisions and the whole mental illness thing, and it really makes me appreciate what the game is trying to do even more, but at times I think that they go a bit too far and try to be too deep. Towards the end the story turns a bit too strange for my liking (I don't know how realistic or unrealistic that is, as I have no personal experience with psychosis...) and I started to lose my interest, but fortunately the game ended pretty soon when it got to that stage. Like many others, I don't know what to make of the ending either, I thought it was a bit pretentious maybe, but it's also entirely possible that I just didn't get it.



    The actual gameplay isn't the strong point of Senua's Sacrifice, but it does its job at carrying the story forward. The puzzles where you have to align things to make certain things magically appear are quite imaginative and really fun at first, but they also start to get a bit repetitive when there's not much else to do in the game. The combat is also surprisingly fun and they at least feel really intense, even though they're actually very simple. And yeah, they soon get repetitive too.

    Senua's Sacrifice is a really unique and interesting game that luckily ends before it gets way too repetitive. Definitely worth playing if you're looking for a good story and like your games weird. Recommended!

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